"I think President Trump and his ministerial team are waking up to just how risky it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with the United States", Sawers said. It's a big step.
Saudi Arabia's leaders have promised the U.S. to reveal within days what happened to Khashoggi, who lived in the USA and wrote for the Washington Post, after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to retrieve a document for his wedding.
President Donald Trump called Saudi Arabia's removal of two top officials and more than a dozen arrests a "good first step" in response to the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even as USA lawmakers from both parties expressed deep skepticism. Saudi King Salman also had a plan to restructure the kingdom's intelligence services. No major decisions in Saudi Arabia are made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom's ruling Al Saud family.
While it fired officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom stopped short of implicating the heir-apparent of the world's largest oil exporter.
A police officer stands guard as a journalist holds a placard during a protest over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 19, 2018.
The Communication and Media Center of the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote on Twitter that "disappearance of the citizen / Jamal bin Ahmed Khashoggi drew the attention of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the highest levels, and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance". Though Trump said Riyadh's account was credible, it drew doubt from some USA lawmakers.
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Saudi Arabia had denied news reports that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, but pressure has been building on the Saudi government more than two weeks to explain what happened to him after he entered the consulate earlier this month. "He extends his condolences to Mr Khashoggi's family and friends", the statement read.
"Now, a fight breaks out and he's killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of crown prince".
He visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to sort out marriage paperwork, but his fiancée saw nothing more of him after he entered.
Saudi Arabia's acknowledgement that Khashoggi died came after two weeks of denials and growing demands from Western allies for an explanation over Khashoggi's disappearance, which galvanized a global outcry and prompted some U.S. lawmakers to call for harsh action against Riyadh. Tim Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice-presidential nominee.
Earlier Friday, Trump appeared to shift responsibility to Congress for the eventual American response.
"If "initial investigations" found that he died, why did Saudi claim he left the consulate; this new claim is nearly Stalinist in its unbelievability, even if many people will parrot this as the truth for their own interests", Page wrote on Twitter. California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, called Saudi Arabia's claim that Khashoggi was "killed while brawling with a team of more than a dozen dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not credible".
An official familiar with the Saudi operation said: 'There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him.
The Saudi public prosecutor said in a statement the journalist got involved in a fight that led to his death.